Final settlement on seat-sharing still elusive as parties stick to their gunsTask force submits its final report to top alliance leaders who will now take the final call.
After over a month’s struggle, the task force formed by the ruling five-party coalition to divide among themselves lower house and provincial assembly seats for the November 20 elections has submitted a report to the top leaders.
The task force, which was formed on August 5, submitted its report to the top leaders at the Prime Minister’s residence, Baluwatar, on Thursday evening.
According to Deputy General Secretary of the CPN (Maoist Centre) Barshaman Pun, who is also a task force member, the final tally of seats will be decided by the top leaders of the five parties.
"We have established consensus in virtually all areas. There are some constituencies with two claimants but very few with three claimants," Pun told the Post. "Now top political leaders will decide on these seats."
The names of the constituencies that the parties have already settled are yet to be disclosed.
Earlier, more than one member of the task force had claimed that the Congress would settle for 86 seats, a claim denied by one task force member as well as Congress General Secretary Gagan Thapa.
According to a member of the task force, there could be no agreement on Thursday after Congress refused to show flexibility.
In the task force meeting on Wednesday, the 60 seats that would safely be given to the Congress were identified. Similarly, the constituencies where other parties have a single claim were also identified. Yet, even after Thursday’s meeting, no final agreement on seat-sharing could be reached.
Earlier Congress, the largest party in the alliance, had been insisting on no less than 100 seats. The remaining alliance members were also claiming big bites of the pie—the CPN (Maoist Centre) wanted 60 seats, the CPN (Unified Socialist) 40 seats, the Janata Samajwadi party 32 seats and the smallest member of the alliance, the Rashtriya Janamorcha, wanted two seats.
Government spokesman and Minister for Information and Communications Gyanendra Bahadur Karki had stated on Tuesday that the task force would present its final report to the top leaders on Wednesday.
Though Minister Karki also had claimed there was consensus among the ruling coalition on seat-distribution, later events belied his claim.
There are 165 first-past-the-post (FPTP) seats in the lower house of parliament.
In the upcoming elections, Nepal will vote to elect 275 members of the House of Representatives—165 through direct election system and 110 under proportional representation. Likewise, 330 members will be elected for seven provincial assemblies under the FPTP system and 220 under the proportional representation system.
Meanwhile, the district presidents of the Nepali Congress from the Bagmati Province, in their meeting with Prime Minister and party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, have demanded that Congress should be allocated both the provincial seats corresponding to the federal parliamentary constituencies denied to their party.